Prospects for the Development of Russian–Japanese Relations after Parliamentary Elections in Japan / News / News agency Inforos
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Prospects for the Development of Russian–Japanese Relations after Parliamentary Elections in Japan

22.10.2009 10:45

Following the parliamentary elections in Japan that took place on August 30, 2009, the Democratic Party won the election having obtained 308 of 480 deputy mandates over the Liberal Democratic Party being in power already for many years. Any political party of Japan has never succeeded to win elections with such a majority of votes. The election results were called in press a historical defeat for the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan that since its foundation in 1955 only once relinquished its hold in the middle of the 1990s. At an extraordinary session of the parliament a new Prime Minister of the country was elected by a majority vote - the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan Yukio Khatoyama.

In home policy the Democratic Party intends to increase the Japanese expenditure budget and pensions, as well as reduce taxes. According to press, Khatoyama was going to build a “Swedish socialism” in Japan. However, critics declared that the Democratic Party of Japan has no clear economic program to implement all theses changes into practice.

In home policy the Democratic Party of Japan intends to set to improve relations with neighbors in the Asian region, even to the prejudice of relations with the main ally – the USA, but at the same time trying to check PRC’s armaments build-up. Press has also noted that the Democratic Party of Japan plans to change Japan’s constitution in order to extend peacemaking commission and strengthen defense capacity of Japanese Self-Defense Force. Though Khatoyama praised reforms of the US President Barack Obama, but he called the current situation unacceptable, with Japan being subordinate to the USA in military terms and even was speaking about possible withdrawal of American bases from the territory of Japan, but experts considered that new Prime Minister would not go to radical deterioration of relations with the USA.

Already before the official election to the post of première of Japan – two weeks after democrats’ winning the elections, - Yukio Hatoyama more than once underlined the importance of trust relationship with Russia and the wish to continue his grandfather’s cause. Itiro Hatoyama was the first Prime Minister of Japan to visit the Soviet Union, in 1956 he signed a joint Japan-Soviet declaration, having officially put an end to the state of war and restored diplomatic relations between the two countries. The first statement of the future première about the Russian-Japan relations was expressed already during counting of votes at the first press-conference on the night after elections; in this Hatoyama’s speech Russia was called the only country, besides the USA, the importance of relations with which the politician marked out separately. “In the development of relations between the two countries there are a lot of possibilities still not used. I find it necessary to build trust in a relationship in the shortest possible time,” said Hatoyama.

At a meeting with new Prime Minister of Japan that took place on September 23, 2009 in New York, where the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly took place, the President of Russia congratulated Yukio Hatoyama on election win and assignment to a position of head of government. Dmitry Medvedev underlined that Prime Minister of Japan knows Russia well, and this is an important factor that must contribute to strengthening bilateral relations, development of not only trade and economic cooperation, but also collaboration in other issues, including the most important ones. The two countries’ leaders agreed on regular contacts within foreign ministries, as well as fixed an arrangement on the next meeting at an APEC summit in Singapore in November of this year.

Besides issues of bilateral cooperation Dmitry Medvedev and Yukio Hatoyama discussed a problem connected with DPRK’s nuclear program. The Russian party is ready for establishing constructive collaboration with new Government of Japan, in the interests of further development of Russian-Japanese relations, particularly in the field of trade and economic cooperation. Moscow is also ready for strengthening cooperation with Tokyo on Asian-Pacific problematics, as well as for global agenda. Russia expects from the new première of Japan movements in solving a disputable problem of Kurile Islands. Prime Minister of Japan himself declared that he sees a way to solve territorial issues in trust relations construction with the Russian leadership. Earlier Hatoyama said that he hoped to achieve progress at talks about Russian islands of the South Kurile ridge, Japan is pretending to, and about conclusion of a peace treaty.

The position of the leader of the Democratic Party of Japan that has won the parliamentary elections is in keeping with the Russian leadership’s approaches. Active joint efforts with the aim of developing bilateral ties will lead to opening of relations’ potential and creation of the atmosphere necessary for solution of the existing questions.
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